It was full steam ahead for the unofficial launch of Crop Over this past weekend, with the huge second-year deliverance of King Bubba Illuminate. After the well-attended first production last year, patrons were clamouring for another show from the “Bubbaling” artist. He promised and delivered, what was arguably the perfect start for this Crop Over season.
Once again Illuminate, in association with SLAM 101.1FM, brought to us a fully featured lineup of local and regional performers, which included some of the biggest DJs currently operating on the Caribbean scene.
King Bubba himself was on fire that night; his presence on stage backed up by his dancers from Riddim Tribe, proved effective amongst his fans in the crowd as he wooed them with all of his hits ranging from Calling in Sick to his new 2018 party starter Jiggle Jiggle. It was clear a lot of effort went into perfecting his presentation on stage during the night; with the use of flames, his numerous outfits and well-choreographed dance routines, Bubba truly put on a flamboyant show of his brand.
As always, Peter Ram and Stiffy commanded the full attention of the crowd, with Peter Ram specifically teasing a controversial, yet crowd-pleasing song for the season. He was confident in the song being banned from the airwaves, and we here at Bajan Vibes have to concur. DJ Puffy with the assistance of Scratch Master serenaded the crowd for almost 30 minutes with rhythmic selections that moved through the Soca, Hip-hop and Dancehall genres.
Teddyson John out of St. Lucia was the favourite during the night for many in attendance. With his own special genre of conscious soca song, the crowd was hanging off of his every beat as he had them grooving to all of his selections. His songs included the regional 2016 ‘Alez’ and his recent 2018 collaboration with Int’l Stephen dubbed ‘Vent’. Though these songs were obviously slower in tempo than other selections heard throughout the night, his energy on stage never skipped a beat when it came to controlling the mood of the crowd.
This review of the night would be incomplete if we did not mention the King of the Dancehall himself, ‘Mr. Zagga’ Beenie Man. It comes to the surprise of no one that the music veteran wasted no time in igniting the crowd into a frenzy with all of his greatest hits like King of the Dancehall, Girls Dem Sugar and Toyfriend, just to name a few.
Speaking to Bajan Vibes after the show, King Bubba thanked all the persons who contributed in any way to the success of this year’s event, saying that though it was sold out, he had no current intentions of shifting locations for next year’s iteration.
“I like the exclusivity… if you couldn’t get in this year, you have to come next year, so it makes people buy their tickets early. But I plan on in the future, bringing another event in the heart of the season… that is the one I would target [the audience of] 5000 and up. But right now, Illuminate is exclusive. We cater to 1500-2000 people, and we are grateful for everybody being here and giving us a fantastic show.”